When you arrive in Florence, the temptation is never to leave – but if you’re planning a visit to this beautiful part of the world, you should know there is life beyond this iconic Renaissance city that’s also well worth exploring. |
The city makes a fantastic base from which to explore the wider Tuscany area, and day trips from Florence are the best way to pack in as much as possible and make the very most of your holiday experience.
While there’s a wealth of options when it comes to getting out to explore, the following are three of the most popular excursions – and for very good reason.
Lean Towards Pisa
There aren’t many people who haven’t heard of Pisa and its famous leaning tower and, at just over an hour and a quarter away, this is usually high on most people’s list. As well as the chance to see the Leaning Tower in all its glory, the city’s other notable architectural triumphs include the Romanesque cathedral and the Baptistery. All three of these are set within the Piazza dei Miracoli and are not to be missed, but when you step away from the touristic sites you can also discover the true heart and soul of Pisa in its tangle of streets and alleyways and along the beautiful banks of the River Arno – the very same river upon which Florence is built.
See Siena in a Day
Siena is often a firm favourite with visitors to Tuscany who can’t help but be captivated by its romantic and authentic ambience. It really is a place where time appears to have stood still, with a host of magnificently preserved monuments and buildings radiating out in the streets and alleys surrounding the central piazza, Il Campo. As well as being the site of one of the world’s most famous horse races, the Palio, the city is home to iconic structures like the imposing Torre del Mangia (climb it, if you dare, for spectacular views over Tuscany), Palazzo Pubblico and the instantly recognisable striped marble façade of its Gothic cathedral. Because the entire centre of the city is traffic free, it’s a wonderful and very relaxing place to explore on foot. At just over an hour away, it is one of the most accessible day trips from Florence.
Set San Gimignano in your Sights
The gorgeous hilltop town of San Gimignano is charm personified. Its iconic skyline of the 14 remaining tower houses (of an original estimated 72) that gained it the nickname of the Manhattan of the Middle Ages, and the laidback, authentic vibe of its UNESCO-protected centre, make it one of the genuinely unmissable day trips from Florence. As with everywhere in this part of the world, culture and history buffs will find plenty to love, including the Cathedral with its magnificent cache of Florentine frescos. But for many visitors, the true joy of San Gimignano is simply the experience of wandering the streets and discovering a tiny hidden café, restaurant or boutique, or enjoying a gelato or vino in the sun and watching the world go by.
Trust the Locals
The best day trips from Florence are those run by experienced small group operators that are accompanied by local guides with a passion for sharing the many delights in their region. Excursions like this afford you the opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy Tuscany as it should be experienced.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best day trips from Florence. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro`s company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you`re keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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